Pancakes and Crucifixion

Our church Area Group met at Jon & Emma’s tonight and we enjoyed some stunning savoury and sweet pancakes courtesy of Rada.  I just love pancakes with cheese, ham, soured cream and gherkins.  Mmmmmm.  It was great to share together after a weary Tuesday.

We then watched the crucifixion scene from The Passion.  Wow, what a somber reminder of the suffering of a man and his love for all humankind.  The fun, tastiness, and probably a bit of gluttony, was in stark contrast to the pain and torture that we were watching and it reminded me what Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, was all about.  It was the occasion of using up the rich foods in the house in preparation for Lent, a period of fasting to prepare for Easter.

I really am not one for celebrating religious festivals for the sake of it, or out of obligation, but the traditions can be really useful to help us walk with God, gain an understanding of who he is, and to worship him.  If you feel led to then I would really encourage you to fast from something for this Lent season.  A friend put on facebook tonight that you don’t need Lent to prepare your heart to celebrate Jesus death and resurrection and this is very true.  But also, a bit of spiritual discipline is a great way to help us appreciate what we have and to helps us experience the rhythms of spiritual life.

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Kids and Church Planting

Tim Simmonds has blogged about Planting Churches with Ninja Children.  It reminded me how much I take for granted how versatile and giving kids can be when it comes to the disruption and lack of routine that come with church planting.

It is a real privilege having our children share the church planting journey with us.  It is inspiring to have them with us at midweek group, they are great company in the car and in general it is simply nice to do be doing something productive and worthwhile together.  It also gives children great opportunities to improve their social skills as they meet new people and gain an understanding of the wider world – Anya regularly interacts with people from all sorts of cultures and is confident talking to with people with disabilities and addictions.

But there is a cost that church planting demands of children.  Sometimes it requires a change of school and they won’t get to hang out and make friends with as many children their own age as they might at bigger churches.  We are told time and again that children, and especially babies, need routine but when you’re taking the kids along to evening meetings and out all day on a Sunday then a routine can be impossible to keep!

Nevertheless, all these experiences do help a child to learn resilience and interdependence – essential skills for life.  I was wondering though, and would welcome input from those who may have had similar experiences, what areas or experiences would it be helpful for us to be particularly purposeful about providing for our two children?  Is there anything that it would be wise to put in place to make sure they don’t miss out on any specific area of spiritual or social growth?

Connect

“The connection is so subtle and it’s so fragile in the world we live in. It’s like a bird’s song. All the noises of the world seem to devour that song. Just go out your front door and listen… you hear people shouting, cars driving, radios, TV, the list is endless. You have to first shut all the noises out and you have to listen and became silent… to hear the song. And if you find it, it’s so beautiful!”

I’ve been following this discussion over at Naked Pastor about struggling to ‘connect’ with God.  I mentioned that I often struggle to ‘connect’ with God both at church and away from church.  I am too easily distracted, irritated and far to apathetic.  I asked the question, what does it mean to be ‘connected’ anyway.  This is a theme I’d love to explore but for now I’d just wanted to share the words that are at the top of this post.  They were written by Kaalvoet-Kind.

 

Pulling a sickie, or not

Let’s be honest, while it might be tempting sometimes, pulling a sickie is the wrong thing to do.  It’s dishonest, dishonouring to your employer, bad for the organisation you work for and, accumulatively, bad for the country.

This website www.pullasickie.com is funny but I think it’s totally the wrong attitude.  However, if you’re really ill then I think it’s the best thing to take time off work, get yourself well again and avoid getting all your colleagues ill too.  If I feel like I’m coming down with something then half a day off can be just what I need to prevent the onslaught of full blown man-flu.

BUT…I think we can have so much more integrity than this by doing the best we can to avoid getting ill in the first place:

  1. 5 A DAY. Get those fruit and veg down you.  Good tips that might help you snack healthily throughout the day – a couple of raw carrots, making a fresh smoothie (out of fruit, yogurt, ice and sugar), a handful of raisins, a bag of nuts, fresh fruit juice.
  2. WATER. Be really careful what you drink.  We get three free vending machine drinks at work each day and it really is not good for you.  As I don’t drink tea or coffee I’m also tempted to buy energy drinks to get me through a long afternoon which are probably even worse.  A regular intake of water will do you the world of good.
  3. EXERCISE. Get your heartrate going really fast for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week.
  4. GO TO BED. Being disciplined in when you go to bed will help your health immensely.  You probably know how much you need to be on good form.  From experience if I need to be consistently getting 7.5 hours otherwise I’ll begin to wear out.
  5. SEX. Well as long as it’s with your husband or wife the more sex you have the better you’re gonna feel*!
  6. BE PREPARED. Get everything ready for the morning rush the night before – clothes out the cupboard and ironed, lunches made, bags packed, have a shower – that way you’ll be able to wake up, have a (semi**) leisurely morning and not associate getting to work with a load of stress.
  7. FEED YOUR SPIRIT. We are all spiritual beings designed to need something bigger than ourselves.  Explore God, stimulate your spirit through prayer, fasting, worship, simple living.  These things help give you a proper perspective of the world we live in and our place in it.

I appreciate that some of the points above might be a big step or difficult but if you’re able to put some of them into practice then you’ll begin feeling a little sharper, more up for work and generally happier!

* Points 4 and 5 can get in the way of each other if you’re not careful but on the other hand 5 can potentially help with 3! 😉

** the number of children you’ll need to get ready will have a big effect on this but get all their things ready the night before and you’ll be well on your way.

Friendship

I love being with people.  Spending time together as relationship is created.  Watching bonds develop through experiences shared.  Through conversation.

Each friendship has an intricate and unique set of links and bonds.  I am talking about how we are joined spiritually.  I believe that each relationship has a spiritual cohesion that is different to any other relationship.

Imagine you are with someone and you begin to bore, or y0u just don’t want to be with them.  Your default is to make excuses to leave their presence, or to switch off.  But this time you begin thinking about some different things.  You think about the positive qualities of the other.  You think about the things you have in common, even if it is simply the fact you are in the same place.  You think about the needs of the other.  You think about how they can reach out to you and add something to who you are.

Every encounter is a unique gift that can never be reclaimed.  Make use of them and you will build stronger, more numerous and more fulfilling friendships.